Some people call it busy. Some call it beautiful. Some call it smug-central. Oh whatever, you’re not moving here to be comfortable and humble. You’re moving here because it’s LONDON BABY.
If you’re moving here in your 20s, then be prepared to add on to the pile of mess that makes up for this city. Feel the excitement, do something that scares you everyday and be part of the magic – because, really, there’s no other way to make the most out of London.
Remember, everyone *wants* to move here… but you just did.
Here are my ten tips for newcomers to the city (coming from my credibility of moving here a month and five days ago, errr!)
- You will have more liquid dinners than what should be allowed: Call it a lifestyle change or a quick way to shed kilos or stupidity, you will eat very little in this city. All the socialising and lack of enough funds will force you to choose wine over food (duh!). Locally, it’s called being smart about your money, prioritising what’s more important and being on a perpetual liquid diet. Take that, Miranda Kerr!
- You will feel out of place and at home within the first five days of moving here: It’s a big city, so big that it will leave you feeling lost and intimidated on more occasions than one. You will make new friends, but still feel like you don’t have any. You will find your favourite barista, but would never get him to learn your name. You will ultimately figure out where and how to get to places, but still feel left out in one of the greatest cities in the world. You will crave a familiar hug and yet be able to talk to a stranger on the tube for half hour. It’s a contradictory city, I tell you that, and you’ll learn to love it for its irony sooner than you’d think.
- You will start hating on tourists, no matter how new you are to the city: Try walking around Oxford Street when you’re late for a meeting and watch how inexcusably and shamelessly swear words come out of your mouth. Tourists crawl around every major street in London, and there’s nothing worse than being stuck behind them when you’re in a rush to get shit done. You will hate them, hate them so hard. I still haven’t been to see Spencer in Chelsea with the scare of it all, can you imagine the terror of it all!
- Say goodbye to your gorgeous heels: London’s cobbled streets hate stilettos. Fact. They are little Louboutin and Choo-loving monsters who will munch all the pretty heels you have and not even burp after. This city only likes wedges or wellies; so don’t even attempt to wear your favourite pair around. Also, if they don’t get stuck on a pretty street in Covent Garden, you will ultimately get a serious frost bite and die. It’s really a win-win situation for those rascals.
- You will cry at some point: Not trying to depress you in the middle of a serious and important piece, but this is true. There are going to be some tough days, some moments when you’d just want to jump into Thames. Kidding! Have you seen the state of that water, it’s filthy! Why would anyone consider that? But in all honesty, this city is mad. As much as you’d want to swim up and absorb everything happening around you, you won’t be able to deal with its marvellous diversity and overwhelm. There will come a day when the gloominess will go away, and perhaps even a delicious man will smile at you. That’s when you’ll smile at your luck for being able to call this ‘home’. But, I’m warning you, there will be tears.
- Public transport comes to a stand still at midnight: This isn’t Sydney where trains and buses run till about 4am. Tubes stop at midnight and night buses are for specific routes only. If you’re planning on having a big night, take a sleeping bag with you or find yourself a couch in the zone 1 to crash on (cheaper cab ride). And while you’re at this, remember not to swear at cab drivers, they will ask you to get off in the middle of the road. Bastards!
- Be the biggest social butterfly that you can be: Be shameless and over-the-top happy when you meet new people. Try to be everyone’s friends otherwise this city will suck you into lonesome depression. It’s very easy to make a lot of friends here and equally easy to not make any. Be shameless, talkative, happy and RSVP ‘yes’ to every invitation that swings past you. Do apologise to your bank account before moving here, yeah?
- Don’t eat out at Soho, unless it’s a date: Excuse the sexism, but unless you’ve been asked out on a date from the Sheikh of UAE who owns yachts, don’t act all lush and eat out at Soho. You will be broke for the rest of your life and probably won’t be able to afford a cup of tea, even. Soho is in inner-London, home to some of the city’s poshest and most delicious restaurants and bars. Enough said.
- There are 8 million people in this city, but it will still be difficult to find the love of your life: All your best friends are either in long-term happy relationships, or engaged, or married or with a child. You are ridiculously single. Yes, noted, I hear you. Don’t move to London thinking you will find love here, because, really, there are more chances of you winning a lottery here, than finding a man. Exhibit A: I won 2 quid from a scratchy last week. Woo! Oh, unless you want to get into online dating in the UK or send your application to Dinner Date on Channel 4. You just won’t get my sympathy for any of these, soz!
- You will spend majority of your weekend mornings in bed, not at Portobello markets: You would want to spend Saturday and Sunday mornings at a local organic fruit and flower market, but in reality, you will be in bed pleading for the world to stop spinning courtesy the wine from the night before. Actually, if you’re like me you’d do this, on average, five mornings a week. Another hot tip, don’t go to Notting Hill with an expectation to meet your Hugh Grant; it will not happen, you will leave in tears, deal with it!